Diffuse-type gastric and lobular breast cancers are characterized by frequent mutations in the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. Here we report that tumor-associated mutations of E-cadherin enhanced random cell movement of transfected MDA-MB-435S mammary carcinoma cells as compared to wild-type (wt) E-cadherin-expressing cells. The mutations included in frame deletions of exons 8 or 9 and a point mutation in exon 8 which all affect putative calcium-binding sites within the linker region of the second and third extracellular domain. Motility enhancement by mutant E-cadherin was investigated by time-lapse laser scanning microscopy. Increased cell motility stimulated by mutant E-cadherin was influenced by cell-matrix interactions. The motility-increasing activity of mutant E-cadherin was blocked by application of pharmacological inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase. Investigation of the activation status of PI 3-kinase and the downstream signaling molecules Akt/protein kinase B and MAP kinase p44/42 showed that these kinases are not more strongly activated in mutant E-cadherin-expressing cells than in wt E-cadherin-expressing cells. Instead, the basal level of PI 3-kinase is necessary for mutant E-cadherin-enhanced cell motility. Our data suggest a critical role of E-cadherin mutations for the fine tuning of tumor cell motility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology